1. My belly is heavy
In retrospect, this should have been a given. But, I am constantly surprised at how bulky this belly is.
2. and yet, I forget that it's there
Even 31 weeks in, in my minds eye I still see myself with my old body. So, when I try to make room for you to pass me in the Costco aisle, or, worse, a doorway, forgive me if I don't actually succeed. I've temporarily forgotten about the basketball that is protruding from my middle.
3. No more sleeping through the night
I remember when Tim and I were talking about the possibility of getting pregnant, we talked about all the things we could do in the 9 months leading up to it. One of those things I expected to be able to do was sleep. Surprise! Not gonna happen! Whether it's my brain staying up to make lists of things to get done, or the four bathroom runs, or nightmares that keep me scared of shutting my eyes, or leg cramps that feel like my calves are in labor, or just plain not sleeping, I haven't had a full nights sleep in months.
4. Goodbye coordination
Evidently, the way that our bodies compensate for the extreme growth is by loosening our ligaments. This is evident in the fact that anything that I have in my hands will soon be on the floor. It takes all my concentration not to drop everything I come in contact with - a comfort to the mom's who drop their little ones off in the nursery with me on Sunday, I'm sure*
5. Hello grossness
So, maybe no one ever told you that pregnancy = drool. Or, pregnancy = bloody noses. For whatever reason, pregnant women get waaaay to much saliva, resulting is St. Bernard style grossness. Thankfully, I only experience this at night, so my pillow gets the worst of it. But, pregnant women be warned - you may want to invest in a plastic pillow case. Then there's the nose...you know how you hear about swollen ankles as a pregnancy side effect? That's not the only thing that swells. So does the inside of your nose, resulting in at least one bloody nose a day.
6. Crying over bread
One fine Saturday morning, Tim went off to play Halo with Ryan, and I stayed home to bask in nothingness. Eventually, nothingness gave way to hunger and I started dreaming of a sandwich stacked high with cheddar cheese, mustard, salt and pepper. Thankful that Tim had bought flatbread rounds the day before, I headed down to make my sandwich. I pulled out the cheese, the mustard, the salt and the pepper, but the bread was conspicuously missing. After searching the kitchen with an increasing sense of panic, I called Tim, forced my voice to be calm, and ask him if he knew where he'd put the bread. Turns out, sweet boy that he is, he'd brought it to Ryan's to make an egg sandwich for everyone. Well, as irrational as it was, seeing as how there was a different loaf of bread right behind me, I quickly got off the phone and burst into tears. For 20 minutes. Sobbed. Then I splashed my face and used the other bread. Thank goodness that's been my only irrational melt down to this point.
7. SurrealismWhile a lot of pregnancy is in your face and hard to ignore, the one thing that's pretty quiet for the first several months is the actual baby behind it all. Even after hearing her heartbeat and seeing her little form wiggling on the ultrasound, none of it was real until I felt her move.
7. The strength of the bond
As soon as I felt her move, she became mine. (Yes, she was already mine, but it solidified the connection that I was trying to find in tiny pictures and super speed heartbeats.) I don't know how to explain, but once you feel that little karate chop, everything changes. Even when she's all up in your ribs, or rearranging your essential organs (which I swear she does), it's magical. But my favorite of all is when she tickles me. I literally feel her little hand opening and closing against my belly, and oh man, does it make me laugh.
8. Not getting sick
Of all the symptoms I expected to experience, not having morning sickness was not among them. But, this sweet little thing seemed to do just fine without causing her momma to be sick. A sign of things to come, I hope.
9. The joy that the daddy experiences
It's been amazing to watch Tim grow attached to this little one. In some ways, though he doesn't have the backstage pass I have, I think he's more in love with her than I am. When he heard the heart beat, he gasped. When he saw her on the ultrasounds, his eyes lit up and he smiled like I've never seen him smile before. He was so excited to find out she was a girl, he took me out to dinner, then baby shopping to celebrate (where he immediately told the waitress and the lady in the checkout line that we were having a girl). But the best is when he talks to her, in the sweetest little voice. He tells her that he's her daddy, first and foremost, then just chats, while she wiggles around. She's already got him wrapped around a finger we haven't even seen.
10. The renewed understanding of Divine Design
I think that the clearest argument against survival of the fittest is pregnancy. It is clear, within weeks of becoming pregnant, your body is not your own. Your body will deprive itself of essential nutrients to ensure that this baby gets everything it needs to grow and thrive. Your organs will move from their natural positioning to make way for this little being you're hosting. Your body will tell you what you need to be eating to support this child. And your brain (at least mine did) will change gears from looking out for #1 to looking out for this person you've never met at all costs. Not only is your body no longer your own, your life is no longer your own. You are so intimately linked to this child that you will sacrifice anything for it. Due to some potential complications, I was told early on that a C-section may be necessary. Is it ideal? No, but if it gets this little girl here safely, bring it on. I was trying to explain to someone why I'm so unconcerned about the possibility of an inevitable C-section, and the only way I could express how willing I am to sacrifice myself for her was to say, "If the doctor told me I had to have a leg taken off to get her out safely, I would say, 'That sucks. Which leg? Let's do it.'" The process of pregnancy has renewed my understanding of God's design. It is so evident that He is the one knitting her together in my womb, that He has created our bodies with the ability to warp and change to bring her safely into this world. And Tim and I have been charged with the task to bring her up to follow and love Him...something that I find totally humbling and intimidating.
So, that, in a nutshell, is my unexpected pregnancy experience.
*Just to be clear, this was a bit of a joke. I have never dropped a child. I fell holding one once, but she was fine (I was not so much) and that was completely unrelated to pregnancy, totally related to the fire truck on the floor.